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Turin for Film Lovers

It was a film that led me to Turin. I was stunned by a giant edifice topped by a spire which towered over the city. It was the Mole Antonelliana, a vivid name alluding to both its blunt presence and its designer, Alessandro Antonelli, who had initially conceived of it as a synagogue. I discovered it in a humble but significant independent film entitled Dopo Mezzanotte (After Midnight), by Davide Ferrario, who lives in the city and has shot many of his films there. It is a hymn to cinema, a passion triangle with the action set in the Museo Nazionale del Cinema, which has been housed in the Mole since 2000. With an area of 3,200 square metres, it is the largest in Europe dedicated to “the Seventh Art”. It is a highly original, spectacular exhibition, both for its location and the layout of its collections, including pre-cinematographic devices, magic lanterns, and both old and modern stage items – notably masks from Star Wars and Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, Superman’s cloak and Marilyn Monroe’s bodice. It is actually one of the most frequented museums in Italy, quite a feat in a country with such a rich history and art heritage. It is also the site of the Turin Film Festival, next slated for 20 to 28 November, which has featured such filmmakers as Nanni Moretti, Gianni Amelio and Paolo Virzi.

The City that Bewitched Risi, Tornatore and Argento

The fact that Turin was Italy’s first capital is evident in its cinema, from Neorealism to erotic comedies, with a profusion of such explicit detective films as Double Game, Black Turin and Torino, centrale del vizio. It was in Turin that the master of horror movies and self-confessed lover of the city, Dario Argento, shot several scenes from one of his first hits, The Cat o' Nine Tails. He went on to film in their entirety his latest works, Do You Like Hitchcock?, Sleepless (Non ho sonno) and Giallo.

The city of the Juventus and Torino football clubs, the annual contenders at the “Derby della Mole”, is also an obligatory stop on the journeys depicted in the perennial classics. Enrico Loverso emigrates from the poor south to the Turinese industrial north in The Way We Laughed (Così ridevano) by Gianni Amelio. In Everybody's Fine (Stanno tutti bene), by Giuseppe Tornatore, an elderly, splendid Marcello Mastroianni visits his adult children distributed across Italy and finds the last of them – of course – in Turin. And, the irascible blind captain played by Vittorio Gassman sets off from Turin station in Scent of a Woman, directed by Dino Risi (the remake, with Al Pacino, came years later). Risi also happened to make his cinema debut in the same Alpine city, when he was assistant director during the shoot of Piccolo mondo antico (Little Ancient World), and it was there, too, that he one night declared his eternal love to the stunning actress, Alida Valli, while they were sitting in a carriage in the rain, in the romantic, lush gardens of the Parco Valentino.

The Setting for Robberies and Spies in American Movies

In The Pink Panther 2, with Steve Martin, one of the city’s most prized treasures is stolen – no less than the Turin Shroud. However, the film that has probably set Turin most on the map is the 1969 cult movie, The Italian Job, by Peter Collinson (which has seen a recent remake). In it, Michael Caine flees with his loot from the carabinieri in his Mini Coopers, through the Palazzo Carignano, along the inner staircases of the Palazzo Madama and around the exterior of the Gran Madre di Dio Church, skidding through the glamorous Galleria San Federico shopping centre, and driving over the flared roof of the Palazzo a Vela, built for the Italia 61 Exhibition and refurbished as a sports centre for the 2006 Winter Olympics. He also drives up the heady oval test track on the old FIAT factory – the city’s veritable economic driving force for decades – housed in the Lingotto building, now a multidisciplinary space for trade fairs and festivals. In his final getaway, his Minis reach the nearby Alps, the formidable mountain range which acts as the backdrop for this stunning city, after having crossed the river Po.

And, opposite the Po stands the majestic Piazza Vittorio Veneto, which appears in The Bourne Ultimatum, a saga starring Matt Damon. However, the café where we later see the fired up secret agent sitting is actually in Madrid! The fact is that the film crew were back working in Spain when a change to the script forced them to repeat the shoot of the scene originally filmed in Turin. The magic of cinema always involves some hidden devices!

If you fancy seeing the city for yourself, secure your ticket here!


Text by Carlos G. Vela para ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Images by Felipe Cadona Colombo, Jean-Pierre Dalbera, Luigi Giordano, Marco Coïsson, MarkusMark, Nicola Gambetti

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The Cannes Film Festival – a Rendezvous with Culture and Glamour

For twelve days, from 13 to 24 May, producers, film-makers and film stars come together in the city of Cannes to compete for the coveted Palme d’Or. The Cannes Festival is one of the most prestigious cinema festivals in the world. That is why, year after year, it draws great stars from the world of cinema, while millions of film enthusiasts the world over await the awards ceremony with baited breath.

Under the presidency of Louis Lumière, regarded as the father of cinema, the festival was first inaugurated on 1 September 1939, fatefully just one day before the outbreak of World War Two, which led to its cancellation until it was reinstated in 1946. The idea of the festival was to rival the Venice Film Festival, the oldest in the world. It was a way of expressing displeasure over the fact that the Italians had excluded some French gems from their festival, in favour of certain titles of a political and nationalistic character.

Showcase of the Famous

While the festival itself is for professionals, Cannes is inundated with hoards of film enthusiasts and onlookers eager to get a glimpse of their idols. If you’d like to see them all together, you’ll have to stake out a viewing spot during the opening ceremony at the entrance to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès. The moment of greatest expectation is when the stars ascend the famous red carpet of 24 steps, comparable to the Oscar award-winning ceremony in Hollywood.

How to Enjoy the Festival

The major screenings are held in the Palais des Festivals and, as we intimated, they are generally reserved for professionals. You can, however, opt to view the open-air screenings, which are free of charge, in the Cinéma de la Plage, located on Plage Macé, where a film is shown every night as part of a themed programme. During the festival, Cannes throngs with art and culture and activities are staged all over the place. A week before it opens, the Cannes Festival website will be publishing its 2015 Official Selection of activities, which include master classes or film cycles, among other things.

What to Do in Cannes?

Cannes is a privileged city, located in the very heart of the French Riviera and just 27 kilometres from Nice airport. It is surrounded by picturesque villages, including Le Cannet, La Roquette-Sur-Siagne, Mougins and Vallauris, while the idyllic beaches of the French Riviera lie south of the city.

Discover the Old Town – Le Suquet

Set a top a hill lies the oldest quarter in Cannes, Le Suquet, a maze of alleyways and stairways running between the Riviera’s typical Provençal houses. This is a good area for having a meal as it is packed with bistros and restaurants, and also features one of the best views over the bay, the harbour and the Lérins Islands.

The Promenade de la Croisette

The Promenade de la Croisette is a palm-tree-lined esplanade that stretches for three kilometres, from Casino Palm Beach to the Palais des Festivals. Next to the palace is a promenade with Hollywood-style fame for the over 400 handprints it bears of such film stars as Charlie Chaplin, Julie Andrews, Sylvester Stallone, Catherine Deneuve, Liza Minelli and Meryl Streep.

Take a Tour of its Paradisiacal Islands

The Lérins Islands lie within easy reach of Cannes harbour.  They comprise an archipelago which lies opposite the city’s bay and are made up of four islands, of which only two – Île Sainte-Marguerite and Île Saint-Honorat – are inhabited. The first of these is the most visited, with its pleasant, forested areas. Here stands the Fort Royal, where the Man in the Iron Mask was once held prisoner for over ten years. The life of this mysterious character was the subject of a film by Leonardo di Caprio.

Surround Yourself with Luxury – Visit the Grand Villas of Cannes

Wrap yourself in luxury with a visit to the Villa Rothschild in the district of Croix des Gardes. The villa, in neoclassical style with magnificent gardens, was once home to Lord Brougham. His influence over the nobility of the period prompted other residences to be built, turning Cannes into the prosperous city it is today. Another one worth visiting is the Villa Domergue, designed by Jean-Gabriel Domergue and inspired by Venetian palaces. Its gardens are adorned with statues of the owner’s wife.

Text by Scanner FM

Images by Pedro Szekely, Titem, Pietro Izzo, Pierre Le Bigot, Sam2907, Mathieu Lebreton

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Following the trail of Harry Potter in Oporto

The film "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald", a spin-off written by JK Rowling about the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander, comes out this month.

Unlike the Harry Potter saga, which takes place in the UK, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" is set in the US. But we're pretty sure you didn't know that part of the inspiration for this magical universe was found in a very special city: Oporto. The author lived there in the early 1990s and part of the city's history, architecture and traditions inspired the stories of the young wizard.

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The most famous theatres in Europe

Fancy a night at the opera? No, we're not talking about the film by the Marx Brothers – we mean the real opera. We would like to invite you to dress up to the nines and go on a tour of Europe's historic theatres, to enjoy important operas and contemporary dramas, and even pop concerts. Let's go back in time and take a look at the history of the most famous theatres in Europe. The curtain goes up...

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